The earbud market is so oversaturated that it can be very hard to navigate and choose the best pair of earbuds you can get. That is why we have created our 40 Best Cheap Earbuds Ultimate list. This article covers in great depth everything you need to consider before purchasing a new pair of earbuds. By following our advice, you will have absolutely no problem selecting the right model for you. No matter what budget you have, we will help you find what you are looking for.
What to Consider When Buying Earbuds
When it comes to audio equipment, personal taste and preferences are hugely important and dominate over all other parameters. Why? Because each of us likes something different and while some headphones could sound great with one music genre, they could also be very unappealing with others. For example, hip-hop puts an emphasis on bass and mid-low frequencies (male vocals). When you listen to hip-hop with earbuds that lack the much-needed prominence in those frequencies, your overall listening experience will suffer.
The same can be said about all the different situations we find ourselves in when listening to music through our earbuds. These range from daily commute to sports and gym, stage and studio usage, or studying in library or dorm room. Each situation has different requirements on comfort, sound isolation, durability, and, of course, sound quality. Not many people like to listen to detailed but very dry sounding headphones when they are working out in the gym, just like not many people go after high levels of sound isolation when listening alone in the comfort of their own private room.
That’s why we encourage you to carefully consider when and how you are going to use your new earbuds and focus only on what’s really important, otherwise you may end up forever lost in the endless search for the perfect pair. This search has no end and it takes your attention from what is really important – enjoying music.
Nothing can divide opinions so much as audio quality. The main problem with audio quality is that unless you experience music through a high-quality pair of earbuds, it is often difficult to imagine just how it could sound any better. Just like with wine, developing your sound palette requires practice and attention to details. Let’s go over some of the most important aspects of audio reproduction and high-quality sound.
Often abbreviated as AF, this term refers to a periodic vibrations of air and is measured in the hertz (Hz). Most humans can hear frequencies from 20 to 20,000 Hz and as we age, we first lose the ability to hear the highest frequencies. The vast majority of headphones will be able to reproduce the whole spectrum without any major problems. You can play a so-called frequency sweep test to find out just how much of this range you are able to hear. While some manufacturers take pride in the fact that their earbuds can reproduce frequencies from 5 to 100,000 Hz, this has a very negligible effect on real-life sound quality.
What is, however, very important is to be able to read and understand a Frequency Response Graph.
The picture above shows how a typical Frequency Response Graph looks like. As you can see, the frequency range is laid out on the horizontal axis and the Sound Pressure Levels (SPL) are measured in Decibels (dB) on the vertical axis.
In theory, we would like to see a completely flat line, which would indicate that our earbuds can reproduce all frequencies equally and thus give us a well-balanced sound. In reality, most Frequency Response Graphs look much more like the example above. That’s caused by a large number of external variables that manufacturers need to account for including our hearing capability, speaker enclosure and resonance, in-ear acoustics, proximity to the inner ear, and many others. For these reasons, most in-ear headphones will show a peak in midrange frequencies and roll-off in highs.
Very bass-heavy headphones would have a noticeable bump somewhere between 20Hz-500Hz. While Frequency Response Graph can hardly substitute listening to a pair of headphones or earbuds in person, it is the closest thing we have to a real visual representation of how a particular model sounds like.
The soundstage is usually defined as the ability for a sound system to create the sense that different instruments are placed around the listeners just like they would be on a stage during a live performance. Soundstage is further characterized by its width, height, and proximity.
Some earbuds and headphones are able to give a very open, spacious feeling and others sound much more intimate and confined. There is really no right or wrong when it comes to soundstage and it largely boils down to a personal preference. Many people find wider soundstage to make individual instruments more distinguishable, but that has actually more to do with the level of detail any particular headphones are able to reproduce.
Sibilance is characterized by a production of hissing sounds during the articulation of fricative and affricate consonants. Sibilance is most commonly noticed in words with the consonant “s” such as sip, zip, ship, and chip.
These sounds are a natural part of human speech and are not a problem on their own. However, some headphones and earbuds are particularly prone to making sibilant consonants more prominent, even uncomfortable. Similarly, some people are more sensitive to high frequencies and sibilance in particular and these people should definitely avoid sibilance as much as possible.
The good news is that sibilance is one of the first things that people notice and all you need to do is to read a good review and you will have all information you need to select a pair of earbuds that doesn’t suffer from problems with sibilance.
Single Driver or Multiple Drivers?
The vast majority of cheaper headphones (Xiaomi Hybrid Earphones are a very notable exception) use a single driver to produce the entire frequency spectrum. This approach has one main advantage – it’s very cheap to produce. The obvious limitation arises from the fact that the single tiny driver has realistically reproduced everything from booming sub-bass to piercing highs.
The usage of two or more drivers in a single earbud means that each driver can handle just a narrow frequency range and thus produce better sound with more detail. This luxury often comes with a substantial price increase. For example, a single driver Shure SE112 retail at $49 while their dual driver model, Shure SE425, costs $299. Just for comparison, Shure SE846, an amazing pair of quad driver IEM, costs $999.
Comfort and Design
The one aspect of any earbuds that is entirely subjective has to be their comfort and design. We all like slightly different things and manufacturers are well aware of this fact. These days, customers can choose from an incredibly large variety of different colors, shapes, sizes, and styles. More traditional companies like Sennheiser produce sleeker and less noticeable headphones and earbuds that will attract those who don’t want to draw too much attention. On the other hand, Skull Candy and Monster are very popular among younger demographic thanks to their innovative approach to design and energetic sound signature.
Comfort primarily depends on the size and shape of your ears. Most earbuds come with replaceable ear tips of varied sizes (and sometimes shapes), which usually give users enough option to find the perfect fit. If not, there are several aftermarket solutions that should easily fill any gaps. Sometimes it’s the shape and size of earbuds themselves that can cause problems with comfort. Unfortunately, that’s not something that can be easily fixed and any uncomfortable headphones or earbuds should be avoided. There is nothing worse than having your listening experience be ruined by painful sensations.
Wireless or Wired?
Recently, wireless headphones and earbuds have seen a steep rise in popularity. The primary cause is the booming fitness industry and the need for a good sounding pair of earbuds that will stay out of the way during any sports and outdoors activity.
Older wireless earbuds were plagued with connectivity issues and low sound quality. That has changed with the arrival of Bluetooth 4.0 and other technological improvements such as aptX lossless music encoding and cVc Noise Cancelation technology. These ensure a smooth and high-quality playback under all circumstances. Bluetooth 4.0 achieves a great reduction in power consumption by enabling devices to remain paired, or connected to each other, without requiring a continual stream of data to be transferred between the devices.
The aptX codec gives us the ability to deliver CD-like quality audio over Bluetooth without affecting the audio quality or introducing latency issues. There are many great wireless earbuds that take full advantage of all of these technologies such as Zivigo® Wireless BlueTooth Earbuds.
People Who Read This Article Also Read: What is Bluetooth?
There is hardly anything worse than paying a large sum of money for a high-quality pair of earbuds only to end up with a broken cable or earbud just months later. The sad reality is that many available in-ear headphones fall completely short when it comes to how durable and long-lasting they are.
Manufacturers do what they can to give customers something they can rely upon by implementing various protective means including stress relievers on both ends of the cable, high-quality Y-split, a metal housing for drivers, replaceable filter mesh, and others. Due to the nature of this problem, many issues won’t become apparent in the first few months, which means that buying a pair of headphones or earbuds that has been released just recently can be a bit of a gamble.
The best thing that customers can do is to pay attention to the overall reputation of the manufacturer and wait until first reviews are available.
Noise isolation is often mistakenly confused with noise cancelation, but the two technologies are definitely not the same. Each of them does something different and while they both work together to suppress as much outside noise as possible, they also cater to the slightly different type of customers.
Noise isolation is to some extent found is all headphones and earbuds. It refers to the ability to passively block outside noise and provide listeners with more pleasant listening experience. Typical closed-back headphones block 8 to 12 dB, and in-ears anywhere from 10 to 15 dB. Some manufacturers sell headphones that go way beyond this with 35 dB – 42 dB of noise isolation. The best-known example are earbuds from Etymotic Research with their ACCUFit ear tip options to ensure proper seal and comfort.
Active noise-cancellation technology has its roots in aviation and it relies on a microphone that is used to measure ambient sound to generate a waveform that is the exact negative of the ambient sounds. These two waveforms cancel themselves out and the result is, quite surprisingly, a complete silence. As expected, this technology is a lot more expensive to produce than a simple noise isolation. Noise cancelling headphones tend to be very popular among office workers, travelers, and people who spend long hours commuting to and from work by public transportation.
Bose is one of the most renowned manufacturers of high-quality noise cancelling headphones and earbuds in the world. Their earphones can be expensive, but the level of noise isolation they provide is unprecedented. Newer models are able to continue working even without batteries, which is a great plus.
Value for Money
The bottom line of every pair of earbuds is the value for money it can offer. There is nothing spectacular about a great sounding pair of earbuds that costs $1000, but there is something very exciting about a $25 pair that doesn’t perform much worse. Finding the right model requires you to specify your budget, decide which features are important to you and then dive deep into the endless sea of audio technology. Luckily for you, our comprehensive buyer’s guides and lists of the best headphones out there should give you everything you might need to buy something amazing.
There is a virtually uncountable number of headphone and earbud manufacturers. New companies start almost every day and China is increasingly showing the western world that they have a lot to say when it comes to high-quality audio technology. Despite this fact, some companies have become synonymous with headphones and earbuds. Here is a list of top 10 most popular headphone brands in the world:
Sennheiser is a German company that manufactures a wide range of headphones, microphone, wireless system.
Situated in Brooklyn NY, Grado Labs is a family run manufacturer of audio headphones, phono cartridges, amps, and accessories.
Shure Incorporated is an American audio products corporation that was founded by Sidney N. Shure in Chicago, Illinois in 1925 as a supplier of radio parts kits and is now known for their world-class IEMs.
AKG Acoustics is an Austrian manufacturer of microphones, headphones, wireless audio systems and related accessories for professional and consumer markets.
Klipsch Audio Technologies is an American loudspeaker company based in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Established in 1962 in Tokyo, Audio-Technica designs and manufactures a wide range of audio products.
Sony is a large Japanese multination corporation that also produces one of the best value headphones and earbuds in the world.
Based in Framingham, Massachusetts, Bose Corporation manufactures noise-cancelling headphones, audio systems, and aviation headsets, just to name a few.
As the name suggests, Beats was formerly founded by Dr. Dre in 2008 and later acquired by Apple. They produce stylish, bass-heavy headphones and earbuds.
Koss is a popular manufacturer of consumer electronics and some very popular audio equipment based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They are most known for their legendary Koss Porta Pro headphones.
Best Cheap Earbuds Under $10 Reviewed
Our list starts right from the bottom of the price range. Some of you will probably be surprised what $10 can give you when it comes to purchasing a pair of cheap earbuds. Just don’t expect any miracles or audiophile sound quality.
MEElectronics M9 Classic Hi-Fi Noise-Isolating In-Ear Headphones
The MEE Audio M9 Classic were created specifically to offer the best possible sound quality for as little money as possible. MEE Audio made some were smart design choices and managed to create what can probably be called the best budget earbuds on the market.
There are two things that can turn even the best sounding headphones into a huge disaster. The first is a comfort and the second is their cable. M9 Classic score 10/10 in both of these departments. At just 0.35 inches in size, these earbuds are very lightweight and comfortable for long listening and everyday use.
Thanks to the generous use of aluminum, you don’t have to worry about these little guys breaking on you. They are designed to be used and abused, which is further apparent when you closely look at their high-quality cable. Even $100+ headphones are prone to damage in some of more highly stressed places on the cable.
M9 have a very substantial stress relievers at both ends of the cable to protect them from any damage and long-term material exhaustion. You will be surprised just how long they will last in a pristine condition.
Their sound could be described as consumer oriented. There is a noticeable emphasis in the bass department with slightly recessed mid frequencies and lack of detail in highs. This is not necessarily a problem though but rather a conscious design decision.
The bass-heavy sound signature makes them fun to listen to and prevents fatigue that can sometimes settle in when your headphones have very prominent highs. Any modern genres of music will sound exciting and lively.It is almost shocking that the manufacturer is able to include 4 sets of extra ear tips when you consider just how little you are paying for them.
Overall, MEE Audio M9 Classic Hi-Fi Sound-Isolating In-Ear Headphones are a wonderful little pair of earbuds that will give you many years of good service.
Kinbashi Premium Earbuds
If you’re in store for moderately priced earbuds with good sound quality and a built-in microphone for handsfree phone conversations, the Kinbashi Premium are worth considering. For only $10, these lightweight metal earbuds deliver fantastic comfort and a highly enjoyable listening experience, making them a perfect alternative to those cheapo earbuds that come included with many smartphones.
When we first got our hands on the Kinbashi Premium earbuds, we were greatly surprised to find out that they are made from metal. Most other earbuds that cost around $10 are plastic, which is understandable considering how limited the budget earbud manufacturers have to work with is. Because the Kinbashi Premium earbuds are made from metal, they feel far more expensive than they really are, and they are also…
Yurbuds Inspire 100 Noise-Isolating In-Ear Headphones
Have you thought that it is impossible to buy a pair of high-quality noise isolating in-ear headphones for less than $10? Think again. Yurbuds Inspire 100 are a living proof that you can a very good pair of earbuds with some advanced features for less than a single visit to a cinema.
Their name is actually slightly misleading because their function opposite to what you might expect. Rather than reducing the ambient sound, they, in fact, let more noise in. Yurbuds Inspire 100 are designed for sports and outdoor use where it is desirable to know exactly what is going on around you. Without this information, you might easily get into an unfortunate accident. In addition to this, Yurbuds are equipped with Twist Lock Technology to keep them securely in your ear without any unwanted wiggle. Not only will they not fall out, but moisture and sweat are not a problem either.
While their build quality and design earn high points, the same cannot be said about the sound quality. Sacrifices had to be made somewhere, and it is clear where it was. These are definitely not the best sounding headphones on our $10 list. The most characteristic aspect of their sound is a distinct lack of any prominence in lower frequencies. Mids are highs are equally recessed and low in clarity. All of this makes these headphones sound tiny and almost muted. Can something like this be tolerated given their low price tag and high build quality? Absolutely. These are designed for a specific group of users and scenarios, where sound quality isn’t the top priority.
Yurbuds Inspire 100 Noise Isolating In-Ear Headphones are easy to recommend to people who know what they are looking for. If you like to jog or ride your bike in the city, then I’m sure you will appreciate how firmly they stay in your ears and how they let you head people and traffic around you.
Skullcandy Ink’d 2 In-Ear Headphones
Skullcandy Ink’d 2 earbuds come in wide range of color options, attractive price, very good build quality, and above all high sound quality.
Skullcandy really outdid themselves when they were designing these earbuds. Everything is well thought out and it would be easy to think that they cost much more than they actually do. By using a flat cable, common problems with tangled and resonating cable are essentially eliminated. Its length of 1.3 meters is perfect for casual listening with your smartphone or dedicated music player in your pocket. Their 3.5 mm jack is straight, rather than L-shaped, which may be seen as a negative by some people. The reality is that in practice, the shape of a headphone jack doesn’t make much difference.
As with other headphones and earbuds by Skullcandy, Ink’d 2 put emphasis on lower frequencies and produce what can be only described as a mainstream sound. They are easy to listen to, pair well with most popular genres from hip hop to pop, and remain a good degree of clarity and instrument separation If you like a warm sound signature with plenty of bass, these headphones will most definitely sound great to you. It also needs to be stressed that passive noise isolation is doing a good job at keeping all unwanted background noise from disturbing you when you are listening to your music.
Skullcandy generously give you two extra pairs of replaceable ear tips, which lets you choose just the right size for your ear. The smallest size is very tiny and will easily fit even small kids. This and many different color options make Skullcandy Ink’d 2 Earbud the perfect gift for birthday or Christmas. With their single button remote and microphone, this is an exceptionally versatile pair of earbuds that will like right at home both in an urban environment and also outdoors or at the gym.
Sony MDREX10LP In-Ear Headphones
Sony MDREX10LP are small, cheap earbuds with a plain design that will please those who are looking for a more stealthy look and would prefer not to attract too much attention. They feature L-shaped plug with a good strain relief and a low level of microphonics. You can hit the cable like crazy, yet you won’t hear a single thing. It’s nice to see Sony including extra ear tips of different sizes.
The cable is plain, without a microphone or remote. If you want to use your headphones as a headset, you should definitely look elsewhere. These are designed solely for listening to music and all money was spent ensuring they can provide the best and most realistic sound possible. And we can say that sound engineers from Sony did a really good job with these cheap earphones.
Sony MDREX10LP In-Ear Headphones use 9 mm neodymium dynamic drivers, which deliver high-quality sound that feels spacious and well-balanced. High, mids, and lows are really very close to being completely balanced with some slight warm overtones to make listening extra pleasurable…
Best Cheap Earbuds Under $20 Reviewed
Our second cheapest category is also our largest. Manufacturers know that $20 is, at least for many people, the highest amount of money they would spend on an impulse purchase. This means that you will encounter some very dodgy designs and questionable marketing promises. Our guide should help you avoid falling down into these consumer traps and choosing only high-quality earbuds.
NoiseHush NX80 Premium Bass In-Ear Headphones
Finding a good pair of in-ear headphones while a budget can be difficult. The selection often comes down to compromises. Some choose to sacrifice build quality and design in favor of sound quality, while others test their luck by ordering no-name headphones from overseas. We think that you can do better than this. The NoiseHush NX80 Premium headphones are inexpensive, but they are on par with some of the best mid-range in-ear headphones on the market.
To ensure the most optimal fit, the NoiseHush supplies three pairs of eartips: small, medium, and large, for all day wearing comfort. The headphone nozzle in angled in a way that makes the earbuds easy to insert without any discomfort. The deeper your insert them, the better passive noise isolation and more secure fit you get.
They come in four different color combinations: black with blue, black with red, black with white, and white with red. We like all of them, but our favorite is the blue version. Even though these headphones don’t support…
Panasonic RPTCM125K In-Ear Headphones
Panasonic RPTCM125K Headphones are in many aspects very similar to Sony MDREX10LP earbuds. Their design is not overly extravagant, and they focus on sound quality and comfortable fit. You can choose from 5 beautiful colors (black, blue, red, purple, and white) and unlike Sony MDREX10LP, these earbuds actually have an in-line microphone with a remote control.
We have tested the microphone with iPhone and Nexus 5 and it performed extremely well under all conditions. We were especially impressed with its ability to fight outside noise and the wind. No matter what, our voice always came crystal-clear on the other side.
Panasonic used their patented Ergofit design to make these cheap earphones were comfortable. Three pairs of included, ultra-soft ear pads (small, medium, and large) should be more than enough to accommodate all ear sizes. Their cord is 3.6 foot long, which is just perfect for outside use. It’s not so short that it cannot reach into your pocket or too long that it dangles around and gets in your way.
Just like Sony MDREX10LP In-Ear Headphones, these earbuds also use 9 mm large neodymium drivers. When directly compared to the previous earphones from Sony, the earbuds from Panasonic definitely sound slightly fuzzy. This is mainly due to mid frequencies being more recessed. Bass and highs are placed very forward, which makes music sound very dynamic and exciting. You just feel like there is something missing in terms of sound detail. This sound signature suits most mainstreams genres of music really well, but it wouldn’t sound the best with classic rock or metal music.
If we place Panasonic RPTCM125K Headphones directly next to Sony MDREX10LP/BLK In-Ear Headphones, Sony is a clear winner when it comes to sound quality. On the other hand, Panasonic offers an in-line microphone with music and phone call controls. The final decision then depends on what you would be using your earbuds for.
Sentey Amplitude X360 In-ear Headphones
Sentey® Amplitude X360 earbuds are a popular pair of budget headphones with features that you would usually find only in a much higher priced earbuds.
The earbuds case is made out of high-quality metal. This serves essentially two different functions. It helps to enhance the overall sound quality and contributes to their fantastic, aggressive look. They look like they can take some damage and our testing confirms that this is really the case. We have tossed them carelessly in our pockets, office drawers, backpacks, and after all of this, there is no visible damage whatsoever.
We always like to see our earbuds equipped with an in-line microphone with a phone call and music playback control button. Amplitude X360 meet our requirements with flying colors. The included microphone provides a good quality, spacious sound and reasonable amount of outside noise reduction.
These cheap earbuds are able to give you one of the best sound seals in their price range. When you put them in your ears, you will hear only a very little outside noise. This is a very good news because it would be a great shame to be distracted from their very good sound quality. The bass is full and pronounces, and mids and highs are nicely balanced. These earbuds give you the feeling like you are standing in a front row just before the band. Soundstage like this pairs incredibly well with music that uses a smaller amount of instruments. Classical music would sound too busy and packed together. But everything from rap to jazz and single vocalists sound great.
Sentey Amplitude X360 earbuds are highly recommended if you are looking for the highest possible passive noise isolation. If you, for example, like to study in a library and enjoy some ambient music in the background to help you keep focused, these cheap earbuds will serve you well.
Symphonized XTC Premium Genuine Wood Noise-isolating In-ear Headphones
Earbuds with wooden housing are lately in a very high demand. The usage of wood makes sense for many different reasons. Wood is well-known for its great acoustic properties and ability to add certain pleasant coloration to music. It is a natural, renewable material that is not only kind to the environment, but also to our pockets. And, of course, wood adds a certain premium look and feel that you just cannot replicate with plastic materials.
Symphonized XTC Premium Genuine Wood offer a truly premium design and accessories for a low price. When you purchase these earbuds, you will receive three different sizes of replaceable silicone ear tips, beautiful, organic-looking pouch that lets you store and protect your earbuds, and a 1-year warranty. We can appreciate that Symphonized stand behind the quality of their products and are confident to guarantee their functionality.
In terms of comfort, there is absolutely nothing to critique. These earbuds are lightweight, ergonomically, and come with high-quality, braided cable. The built-in in-line microphone works just as you would expect and we have not come across any issues.
The most remarkable part of these cheap earbuds is actually not their design, but their sound. We were shocked by just how great feeling of space it provides. When you hit the play button, you will be instantly transported to another world and surrounded by musical instruments. Each drum hit is clearly separated and full of detail.
The bass on these earbuds in not overly prominent and tends to stay back until it is really needed. Many headphone manufacturers like to artificially increase the volume of sub bass frequencies to wow listeners. Symphonized XTC Premium Genuine Wood In-ear Noise-isolating Headphones with Microphone don’t result to such cheap tricks. Their sound is balanced and true to the original recording…
Sony MDR-EX37B In-ear Headphones
Sony MDR-EX37B Earbud Style Headphones are great for ignoring outside world. We are just kidding, of course. It’s just that their hybrid silicone earbuds provide such a great noise isolation that you may easily forget about everything except your music.
This is obviously a great thing if you want to experience your favorite artist to the fullest. It is also extremely welcomed feature for any pair of cheap sports earbuds. Badly isolation headphones force you to listen to higher volumes which may be very dangerous for your ears. A proper noise isolation lets you lower the volume and still hear every single little detail. This makes Sony MDR-EX37B a highly recommendable pair of gym earphones. With three different pairs of replaceable silicon earbuds, they fit great and stay in place no matter what you do. We are also pleased to say that we have found absolutely no issues with sweat and moisture. Sony MDR-EX37B just kept going with any sound degradation.
Let’s talk a bit more about their sound. These cheap earbuds have somewhat unique sound signature that is not commonly found in a small pair of earphones, like these. Their sound frequency extends very low which results in a very physical perception of sound. You can feel bass deep inside your head as it roars and thunders. This doesn’t mean that low frequencies sound excellent in terms of their accuracy, but it definitely means that they are a lot of fun to listen to. Sony MDR-EX37B Earbud Style Headphones absolutely excel when paired with dubstep and other music genres that heavily rely on extremely low frequencies.
You can choose from four different colors (black, blue, green, and red) to match your own personal taste. Cable on these earbuds is not tangle free, but we have not experienced any significant issues during our testing. Sony MDR-EX37B Earbud Style Headphones can definitely be recommended for sports and outdoor activities. They would also make a great gift for a teenager.
GreenPointSelect Full Metal Dual Driver Earbuds
Have you ever thought that it would be cool to have earbuds that look like bullets? Apparently, so did GreenPointSelect, the manufacturer of these cool-looking earbuds shaped like 9mm bullets. Even more amazing than their shape is the fact that these stylish earphones actually sound really great. We had the pleasure to put them through a long period of testing, and we can’t wait to share our findings with you in this short review.
Bullet-shaped earbuds are nothing new under the sun. But earbuds that actually look like real 9mm bullets are definitely not something you see every day. That’s why the GreenPointSelect Full Metal Earbuds don’t even have to try very hard to look absolutely impressive.
The all metal housing is made out of pure copper, which ensures fantastic durability. The rest of the earbuds has no problems keeping up with the high-quality level set by the housing. The durable oxygen-free copper (OFC) cable, especially, should satisfy even the most demanding audiophiles out there. It’s 3.9ft long and the 3.5 mm jack is gold plated jack for reliable connectivity.
Some could find the GreenPointSelect Full Metal Earbuds to be on the heavier side, but we found out that it just takes a few hours before you get used to it. When you do, you won’t even notice the extra weight.
Built into the cable is also a high-quality microphone, which does very well in noise environments and strong wind. Our voice always came out loud and clear, and its quality surpassed that of the microphone built into our smartphone.
The GreenPointSelect Full Metal Earbuds are dual driver headphones, which means that they shouldn’t have any problems reproducing deep bass together with clean vocals. Each driver simply takes on a certain part of the job.
The resulting sound is balanced and doesn’t lack when it comes to excitement and pure fun. The bass is boomy, mids are placed slightly forward – the way we like them the best – and highs are as crisp and clear as they get. If a good tonal balance is what you’re after, the GreenPointSelect Full Metal Earbuds have you covered.
To help you store and protect your earbuds, the GreenPointSelect Full Metal Earbuds come with and eco-friendly convenient carrying pouch and three pairs of custom comfortable silicone eartips.
When you get your hands on a pair of headphones shaped like bullets, you don’t exactly expect miracles in terms of their build and sound quality. However, the GreenPointSelect Full Metal Earbuds are a proof that miracles do, indeed, happen. If you dig how they look, don’t waste any time and buy them before they are sold out. You are guaranteed to be very happy with your purchase.
Creative EP-630 Noise-Isolating In-Ear Headphones
There is no denying that Creative can make a great headphones. Their Creative Aurvana are one of the most popular budget-friendly over-the-ear headphones on the market. They give listeners a great comfort, excellent sound quality, and exceptional value for their money. Can Creative use their experience and accomplish the same with in-ear headphones? Creative EP-630 In-Ear Noise Isolating Headphones are here to show us that they can.
We absolutely love their minimalistic black design with silver contours. It’s such a timeless combination that you can be sure these will look great even 10 years from now. 9 mm Neodymium magnet drivers have to work hard to fit inside their small case. The results are earbuds that are very comfortable to wear and offer high levels of sound isolation.
Creative decided to use a rather expensive oxygen-free copper cable that should, in theory, offer a superior sound quality. We think that this was a bad decision. Budget earphones are rarely limited by the type of metal used for their cable. Results can be hardly noticeable even in very high-end headphones. While many audiophiles swear by $100 cables, other disagree. Blind tests confirm that the vast majority of humans are not able to distinguish a cheap cable from the most expensive solution. The cord is very prone to noise from any movement as a direct result of using a more expensive material and thicker cable.
On the other hand, we are pleased to say that their sound quality manages to redeem this issue. Creative EP-630 excel in high frequencies offering a crystal clear sound with a unnoticeable amount of distortion. Their bass is firm and convincing in its delivery. Thanks to their low impedance, they are easy to drive from iPhone and you can usually keep your volume down at about 60%.
To sum it up, Creative EP-630 In-Ear Noise Isolating Headphones are not without their flaws. It is their sound that makes them a worthy purchase. And the sound is what matter the most, right?
Monoprice 109927 In-Ear Enhanced Bass Hi-Fi Noise-Isolating Earphones
Monoprice is a well-known maker of budget-friendly earphones and headphones. The company usually saves money on materials and design while making up for this with excellent sound quality. Monoprice 109927 could be considered to be an exception to this rule.
Their sophisticated appearance will have you convinced that they are actually much more expensive than they really are. Cable is protected with a mesh cord that reduces tangling and cranking. It’s a feature that you would normally expect only in more expensive categories on this list.
A gold-plated tip helps to increase sound quality and reduce corrosion and oxidation. Our only real complaint is that they are not fitted with an L-shaped plug. Earbuds like these are used primarily outside and not at home. L-shaped plug helps to protect your cable and pairs better with smaller mp3 players.
We suspect that Monoprice designed these earbuds with smartphones and iPod in mind. These devices usually have headphones connection at the top which works much better with a straight jack.
We have already said that Monoprice is known for being able to offer customers a great sound of an affordable price. Their typical sound signature is more or less balanced with a slight emphasis in lower frequencies. This is also true for Monoprice 109927 In-Ear Enhanced Bass Hi-Fi Noise Isolating Earphones.
Low frequencies sound great without being overpowering. Mids and highs are clear and exhibit no sibilance at all. The only problem is their smaller sound stage. It is actually quite good considering their price and size, but you will definitely hear the difference if you are used to big over the ear headphones.
Monoprice 109927 In-Ear Earbuds are another good example of what can be achieved with some smart engineering and tight budget. They are an excellent demonstration of how you don’t have to spend all your savings just to get a good sound quality.
MEE Audio Sport-Fi M6 Noise-Isolating In-Ear Headphones With Memory Wire
MEE Audio Sport-Fi M6 Noise Isolating In-Ear Headphones with Memory Wire are designed for sports and outdoor activities. Such design requires a special consideration of many different design elements. Headphones and earbuds for sports have to be made out of lightweight materials to prevent fatigue, increase comfort levels, and also ensure high resistance to sweat. When you also want to make your earbuds very affordable, you are facing a serious challenge.
Luckily, the guys from MEE audio have the experience to make a great low-cost pair of sports earbuds. They managed to create an extremely lightweight and comfortable pair of earphones that is also compatible with all devices.
We had no problems getting their in-line microphone and music playback control button to work with Android, iPhone, even Windows Phone. The button gives a nice sturdy click and provides enough resistance to prevent accidental pressing.
MEE Audio Sport-Fi M6 Noise Isolating In-Ear Headphones with Memory Wire are worn slightly differently than your regular earphones. These are designed to be put over and around your ears to increase their stability and security.
This design works extremely well for jogging and running. You will never experience the unpleasant feeling of cable tugging on your earphones. The only negative is that the part that goes over your ears is slightly prone to microphonics.
When you are moving around and the cable is bumping into your head and body, a quite a lot of these sounds get transferred into your ears. It can be annoying at times, but is usually only audible during very quiet moments.
Their sound quality is slightly above the average. They produce very mainstream sound with an obvious V sound signature. The increased amount of highs makes them sound very crisp and their bass extends low enough to sound powerful and dynamic.
GOgroove AudiOHM Ergonomic Metallic Earbuds
GOgroove AudiOHM Ergonomic Metallic Silver Earbuds pack a lot of style and technology into a very small package. This little-known company wants to grab the attention of music enthusiast with high-value earphones and very long 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.
GOgroove AudiOHM are available in six different colors and utilize Balance audio technology to deliver accurate sound with full-range depth and high levels of clarity. Their neodymium magnetic driver components are paired with high-density voice coil to prevent knocking and distortions at low frequencies.
In practice, this means that bass sounds great even at high volume. The whole housing of these earphones is made out of high-quality alloy with an acoustic chamber that has been precisely shaped to produces an accurate sound. We were hooked on their sound from the first second. It’s without any real weakness and really delivers on all promises made by GOgroove.
We have already mentioned that GOgroove offers a free 3-year warranty. That is a very long time for a pair of budget earbuds. There are really only two possible explanations. Either the warranty is just an empty promise with the parent company safely hidden in China, or the build quality is so high that their manufacturer feels confident enough in how durable they are.
While we don’t know whether or not GOgroove resides in China, we can safely say that these earbuds don’t have to be pampered. Wiring is encased in a dense cord jacket and ended with high-quality golden-plated jack. You can tug and pull on these all you want without doing any damage to the internal components.
Who should buy GOgroove audiOHM Ergonomic Metallic Silver Earbuds? Those who are not afraid to take a risk and go with the less-known brand. You will be rewarded with excellent build and sound quality and 3 years of warranty.
Best Cheap Earbuds Under $30 Reviewed
We are now right in the middle of our price range. This is exactly where you should be looking for the best balance between price and quality. There are some truly amazing earbuds that can be found for less than $30.
JLab J6 High Fidelity
The JLab J6 earbuds are designed for people with smaller ears and those who would prefer something smaller for sports and exercise. Despite their tiny sound, they produce larger than life sound that rivals even full-sized headphones with its amazing dynamic range and punchy bass.
If you’re tired of uncomfortable earbuds that barely fit inside your ear canals, causing discomfort and even pain, the JLab J6 are made just for you. JLab has a long history of making tiny earbuds with a comfortable, ergonomic shape. The J6 are the company’s budget offering, and we are pleased to say that they’ve inherited many excellent features from their more expensive siblings.
One such feature is the Kevlar-reinforced cable with 24-karat gold-plated jack for superior sound reproduction and minimal distortion. Included with the earbuds are also JLab’s fantastic soft eartips—this time in seven sizes and two styles.
As is the case with many other JLab earbuds, durability is an issue. You might expect the tiny earbud housing to break or perhaps the nozzle to snap off, but it’s actually the cable that’s causing the most problems. The lack of proper stress relief near the jack, the Y-spit, and the earbuds themselves means that improper storage often results in your music cutting in and out while listening.
The JLab J6 has advanced 6 mm micro drivers that promise unparalleled audio fidelity. If you know JLab, you probably also know that excellent audio fidelity is something the company can easily deliver. Despite the small size od the drivers, the sound is…
Kyoo-Up O42 In-Ear Headphones
Built from pure copper, the housing of the Kyoo-Up O42 headphones is engineered to prevent unnecessary vibrations, giving you better, clearer, and more refined sound with an increased depth. What’s more, it increases the overall durability of the headphones as well as their visual appeal. The combination of black with gold reminded us of expensive jewelry, and made us wonder how is it possible that these headphones cost so little.
Even the in-line microphone with a single-key multi-function button for music and phone call control is made from metal, instead of plastic. Depending on the context, a single press of the button either answers or hangs-up a phone call or plays or pauses the music playback. A double-click skips one track forward, and a triple-click goes to the previous track. The microphone proved to be more than adequate for all our phone-calling needs, and it never failed to exclude unwanted background noise from our phone conversations.
Extra-large stress relievers on the cable protect it against damage, and the L-shaped plug at the end is plated with gold for maximum audio quality. The only criticism we have in regards to the build of the headphones is the fact that they are heavier than most in-ear headphones on the market. The extra weight makes any…
Symphonized NRG Premium Genuine Wood Noise-isolating In-ear Headphones
Symphonized NRG Premium Genuine Wood earbuds are very popular on Amazon and it is really no wonder why. They have a casing made out of real wood, high-quality braided cable, and promise to deliver an exceptionally good sound quality.
A very large number of reviewers praise these earbuds, saying they are the best pair they have ever owned. Some of these statements are true, but there are also a few big problems that you should keep in mind.
Symphonized NRG are, indeed, made out of real wood. You can get them in 8 different finishes (black, blue, pink, red, white, orange stripe, turquoise blue, and zebra). They have a good high-quality cable with gold-plated 3.5 mm audio jack. So far so good.
The problems start when you use these earbuds for a while. The construction of the housing is very fragile and it is not uncommon that it falls completely apart. You can fix this issue fit a little bit of glue, but the manufacturer should know better than to force their customer to take upon DIY projects.
On the other hand, their sound quality is pretty good. The main selling point are excellent mid frequencies. They are somewhat prominent but in a good way. Vocals sound clear and accurate and highs are very crisp. If you like an over emphasizes bass frequencies, you will probably be disappointed. The bass is definitely there but lacks any serious punch and some of the lowest frequencies are totally absent. These earbuds would be good for listening to a spoken word, rather than music.
While Symphonized NRG Premium are one of the most popular earbuds on Amazon, we really cannot give them our recommendation over other models on our list. Consider this review as a fair warning and take a look at other models in the same price range.
MEE Audio M7P Secure-Fit Sports In-Ear Headphones
The MEE Audio M7P in-ear headphones have all the hallmarks of MEE headphones. They are affordable, flexible, attractive, feature-packed, and well built. But the question is whether they can compete with all those other sports-oriented headphones on the market, especially the latest generation of wireless headphones from China. Can old-school wired headphones surpass Bluetooth headphones in terms of comfort and fit? The answer might surprise you.
It takes just one look to know that the MEE Audio M7P are designed for active people. All colors—black, blue, red, and green—are equally stylish and convenient to use, as each earphone has a different color, making it easy to distinguish which is supposed to go into which ear.
The headphones feature MEE Audio’s Liquipel nano-coating for IPX5 sweat and water protection. This coating is essentially an invisible protective film that keeps moisture away from the sensitive components inside. It doesn’t make the headphones fully waterproof, but it helps them survive an…
Symphonized MTL Dual Driver Heavy Bass Premium Noise-Isolating In-ear Headphones
Symphonized MTL Dual Driver earbuds look and feel very expensive despite their low price tag. Indeed, you can see the high attention to detail in every aspect of their design. They utilize a flat cable with proper stress relievers at both ends. This makes them much less likely to tangle and become damaged after extensive wear in jean pockets. The cable also includes an in-line microphone with Voice Control. You can easily skip tracks with just a single click of a button.
MTL earphones have two separate drivers that together cover the whole frequency spectrum with great accuracy. Symphonized MTL earphones are really very close to flat in terms of their frequency response. There is a slight boost in the sub bass ranges, but nothing that would punch your brain out of the skull.
If you don’t mind playing with an equalizer, then you can adjust these slight imbalances in no time. I would say that they would greatly satisfy an average consumer, who is looking for a non-fatiguing, pleasant sounding headphones.
Symphonized MTL Dual Driver Heavy Bass Premium In-ear Headphones have a good, rugged look that is sure to catch the attention of people around you. It’s hard not to like this simple, industrial appearance. However, it’s not all sunshine and roses. Because of the way these earbuds are shaped, it’s actually quite hard to properly insert them in your ear.
Even with the smallest ear tips that Symphonized includes, there is still this nagging feeling that they will fall out at any time. The problem is even more apparent when you try to lay down with them. As soon as you turn your head to the side, you will feel a sharp pain as they dig deep into your ear and surrounding skin.
Despite their good sound and very likable design, Symphonized MTL earbuds cannot be recommended unless you try them first and see how they fit you.
Sennheiser CX200 Twist-to-Fit Earbuds
Sennheiser CX200 Twist-to-Fit Earbuds are designed to be used on a busy city streets. Their innovative finger-contoured housing design allows for easy insertion and maximum comfort. These headphones really look great in ears and two extra pairs for ear tips are always welcomed addition. These are so small that you will have absolutely no problems sleeping with them and when wearing them outside, you will quickly forget that you even have them in your ears.
Sennheiser CX200 have reinforced cable connections that are designed to prevent damage from tugging and pulling on the cable. If you search online, you will notice that there are almost no complains about their build quality, which must mean that Sennheiser is doing something right.
CX300 are widely regarded for their excellent sound quality. In many respects, CX200 try to continue this tradition. The lovely bass of CX300 is here in full force and it sound just as lovely as ever. It has this head shaking punch to it and extends all the way to the lowest sub-bass frequencies. The difference between CX300 and CX200 can be heard in mid and high frequencies.
Clarity is not up to par with their older brother and highs can almost seem to be cut short. But in all fairness, these are not meant for analytic listening nor are they priced as audiophile headphones. They are designed for everyday use, commuters, and students. Listening in louder environments will easily cover all little sound quirks that CX200 have. You will be left with a powerful bass and sound that is fun to listen to.
There is no denying that Sennheiser knew what they were doing when designing these headphones. They put a great emphasis on all important aspects of their overall build quality and designed and saved some money and those parts of sound quality that are not as noticeable in real life as others.
Skullcandy Smokin Buds 2 In-Ear Headphones
Skullcandy Smokin Buds 2 with Mic are a good-looking fashion accessories just as much as there are a very functional and solid pair of cheap earbuds. They come in, wait for it, 15 different colors! Now that is some serious selection. You can choose from your standard colors including black, red, and blue, but you also have more exotic color combinations like black/red, black/blue, black/tan, black/white, clear/black, or tortoise/black. If you cannot find a color combination that you like, you are doing something wrong.
Let’s stay with their design for a little longer because there is a lot to talk about. Skullcandy Smokin Buds 2 are unique in several different aspects. They have a flat cable that is highly resistant to tangling and offers a superior stress relievers on both ends.
This is an excellent decision because the main target audience of these headphones is teenagers and kids. Smoking Buds 2 are going to get tossed into backpacks and pockets, which means they have to be able to withstand some abuse.
The most eye-catching feature is their transparent construction. A rather larger part of their casing is made out of translucent plastic material that lets you see everything inside. There are no other cheap earbuds quite like this on the market. You are sure to get a lot of attention when you put these bad boys in your ears and take a walk outside. This effect is especially apparent on the black/black color variation, which just look amazing in our opinion.
But good earphones are not all about style. What matters even more is how they sound. Skullcandy Smokin Buds 2 Earphones deliver a very musical mainstream sound signature with plenty of bass and the fun-factor turned to maximum. It’s definitely not the most accurate sound in the world, but that is not something you would probably…
Zipbuds JUICED 2.0 Earbuds Featuring ComfortFit 2 Technology
Zipbuds JUICED 2.0 are the 4th generation of patented earbuds with zip cabling that is designed to prevent tangling. The earphone cable is hidden inside molded zip that can be adjusted to your liking. Because the zip itself is a lot thicker than your regular earbuds cable, it only rarely tangles. When it does, it takes just a few seconds to get to untangled. Another great advantage of this design is that you can close the zip all the way up, which help to protect your earphones when you travel.Zipbuds also incorporate the so-called ComfortFit 2 Technology.
Earbuds are slightly angled to mimic the anatomy of human ears. That means that they stay in one place no matter what you do. Their extravagant design may be a little bit too much for some folks, but there is no denying that from the functional perspective, these cheap earbuds deserve a very good score.
The only problem is that the cable exhibits a very high level of noise transfer. Every time you hit it against, for example, your shirt button it produces an annoying sound. Zipbuds should definitely fix this issue because it can be really annoying. You can choose from 4 different colors (black, blue, pink, and glow-in-the-dark). The glow-in-the-dark option is a luminescent white during the day and becomes a glowing green in the night.
Their sound is completely characterized by their very bass-heavy sound signature. This can be a huge hit or miss with some people. You just have to love a thundering bass otherwise you will have a very bad time listening to these headphones. You can, of course, tame the prominent low frequencies using an equalizer, but that tends to also muffle the sound of mid ranges.
Zipbuds JUICED 2.0 Never Tangle Earbuds Featuring ComfortFit2 Technology are a great pair of cheap earphones for bass head, who are interested in buying something unique and can get over how vibrations transfer to ears.
Best Cheap Earbuds Under $40 Reviewed
Our second most expensive category of cheap earbuds contains a variety of different models from 5 different manufacturers in total. You can expect to find some great quality earbuds for a very affordable price.
Sennheiser CX 300 II Precision Enhanced Bass Earbuds
Sennheiser CX 300 II are designed to provide listeners with a powerful bass and very exciting sound signature.This time, we are going to start from what’s bad with these earphones. CX 300 II simply cannot be recommended for active people looking for a good pair of sports headphones.
There are 3 different reasons for this in total. Their construction is not as sweat-proof as many other earphones are. This means that after just a few miles of, for example, running, their sound quality turns to horrendous. If you continue with your activity, you are risking a permanent damage to your earbuds.
The second reason is their asymmetrical 1.2 m long cable. Other manufacturers know very well why they don’t include this type of cable with their earbuds and Sennheiser should learn from them. It can very easily get over your shoulder and even slight wind can blow your earbuds out of your ear. You can try putting them around your ears, but that just adds to the misery.
The last problem is again with their cable. It is coated with some kind of plastic material that makes the cable extremely likely to tangle. As you can see, Sennheiser CX 300 II simply cannot be recommended at all to anyone who is looking for a pair of sports headphones.
With the bad points out of the way, let’s take a look at what is good. We definitely like that they come with three different sizes of replaceable ear tips and handy pouch. Their 2-year warranty is a nice addition, even though these are known to be one of the most durable earbuds out there.
But the best part is definitely their sound. Its full, bass is punchy and responsive, high are crisp and accurate. They have an airy head stage and everything from jazz to hip-hop, rock, and soul sounds amazing.
If you want a pair of good sounding, reliable headphones and are not concerned with using them for exercise and sports activities, Sennheiser CX 300 II Precision Enhanced Bass Earbuds are a very good buy.
NarMoo S1 High-Fidelity Noise Isolation Earbuds
It used to be that dual-driver headphones were reserved only to the most dedicated audiophiles who had no problems paying large sums of money for the best possible sound quality. Those days are long gone, and it’s now possible to get an excellent pair of dual-driver earbuds for a very affordable price. The NarMoo S1 are a great example of one such pair of earphones.
One would expect quite a bit of extra weight from a pair of heavy gauge aluminum earbuds. After all, it seems to be the natural consequence of the added durability. However, the S1 show that a great build quality doesn’t have to be uncomfortably heavy.
As far as aesthetics go, NarMoo decided to keep things simple and go with an industrial look. The silver housing features a small grippy ring that aids with earbud placement when your hands are sweaty or wet. Further away from is the angular end of the housing with a strain relief for the cable.
The strain relief is probably the weakest part of the S1, as it doesn’t have enough flexibility to survive heavier use. We know from our previous experience that this particular type of strain reliefs is prone to breaking, leaving the cable unprotected. Luckily, the issue is largely mitigated by the inclusion of a hard-shell care.
The cable itself is made out of two individual strands of wire twisted together. It’s highly resistant to microphonics and tangling.
The dual high-definition micro-drivers have a sensitivity of 102dB and frequency response between 5hz and 23khz. Indeed, the earbuds are characterized by highly detailed sound reproduction and excellent bass, which extends deep into the sub-bass frequency spectrum.
The overall sound signature has a distinct “V” shape, with upper midrange and lower treble noticeably emphasized. Listeners of rock, pop, symphonic classical music, and electronic music are guaranteed to enjoy their fun musical sound. However, music genres which already have plenty of midrange, such as violin concertos, can be a bit overwhelming.
One thing to pay attention to with the S1 is the correct fit. These earbuds really need to sit deep in the ear canal to produce the best sound they can. Any small air opening can make the bass sound muddy.
The NarMoo S1 come with an excellent hard-shell case with two internal mesh pockets inside. You can use these pockets to store all three pairs of included replaceable eartips and the handy shirt clip, and there still will be plenty of space left for anything else you may decide to throw in.
If you are looking for a premium sound quality that won’t make your wallet cry, look no further. The NarMoo S1 are a dream-come-true for all serious music listeners. These tiny, lightweight earbuds pack as much audio fidelity as headphones and earbuds that often cost 3-5 times as much as the NarMoo S1.
GranVela X3 Noise-Isolating In-Ear Headphones
We have to admit that GranVela knows how to make an appealing pair of earbuds. The X3 look like a pretty serious listening device, and the included removable cable hints at their pro-grade roots. With the built-in remote control, included triple flange eartips and memory wire, these affordable earphones could be a dream-come-true for all active listeners.
The X3 are designed in such a way that the earbuds can be inserted very deep in the ears and used with triple flange eartips. This type of eartips is known for providing excellent sound isolation and a very secure fit. You should really have no problem being as active as you want with these earbuds, thanks to their lightweight construction and slim profile. They may look slightly overengineered, but they are, in fact, one of the most comfortable earbuds we ever had the pleasure to test.
The detachable cable is a feature that we would like to see much more often. Why? Because cable the single biggest weakpoint of any headphones or earbuds. It’s not that difficult to built a strong, durable housing that can survive just about anything. But building a cable of equal strength might be downright impossible. With replaceable cable, all you need to do is get a new one for a fraction of what you would pay for a brand new pair of earbuds, and you’re good to go.
The particular cable that comes with these earbuds has a memory wire inside, which means that it can accommodate ears of all sizes and shapes and provide with an excellent fit. It also comes with a built-in microphone that can be used as a headset. The cable ends with a 45-degree 1/8th connector that can flex from 90 degrees to straight without too much pressure on the earphone jack itself.
The GranVela X3 use neodymium iron boron magnets strongest drive units that produce one of the sweetest mids we’ve ever listened to. They are warm, spacious, and guaranteed to put you in a great mood. All you need to do is play your favorite song, sit back, and relax.
The bass hits hard, but it just doesn’t seem to have enough power and depth to achieve what it wants to do. That’s probably because of how limited its performance becomes around 30Hz. You can improve it by lowering 60-125-250Hz and boosting 30Hz. Still, the X3 are tuned mostly for 60-125Hz, so you can’t expect to be able to completely change their sound signature.
The GranVela X3 Noise-Isolating earbuds ship with a semi-hard case that provides a good balance between protection and convenience. The case is malleable enough to fit inside just about any pocket, yet strong enough to really keep the earbuds secure. You can also use it to store the included removable cable and several pairs of eartips – some single-flange and others dual- or triple-flange.
What a fantastic surprise the X3 noise-isolating earphones from GranVela are. With their lovely mids, detachable cable, and in-line music playback controls, these earbuds are a great bang for your buck. The lack of bass precision can easily be excused, as you simply can’t expect miracles from something so affordable.
WinnerGear Rumba Earbuds
WinnerGear Rumba earbuds are sure to attract many buyers with their black, professional appearance. Even by the looks alone, it’s not that hard to tell that these earbuds will be all about powerful bass. Read more to find out if they manage to deliver a good bass-heavy sound, or if they succumb to muddiness and lack of clarity.
We really like the design of WinnerGear Rumba earphones. The black, angular housing looks aggressive and industrial. The black woven cable matches with the rest, creating one aesthetically cohesive unit.
The main problem is that behind the nice façade are cheap plastic materials with poor fit and finish. You don’t need to put these earbuds under a microscope to figure out that the construction is not very robust. It can’t really be compared with many other headphones in this price range, which often have a full-metal construction capable of withstanding all kinds of abuse and misuse.
However, if we put the build quality aside, the rest of the package is actually quite nice. You get a high-quality built-in microphone and volume control buttons, which you can use to adjust the playback of your music or answer phone calls. The braided cable is very durable, flexible, and doesn’t show any signs of microphonics.
The presence of large 9mm drivers with sensitivity of 104 dB suggests a strong focus on bass frequencies. Indeed, the WinnerGear Rumba Earhpones have what it takes make even the most hardcore bass-lovers nod their heads in admiration. Not only do they have the raw power, but they also are no strangers to precision to precision.
High also stand out quite a bit, leaving only the midrange feeling that it was left behind by the rest of the frequency spectrum. It’s easy to get over this issue when you listen on-the-go, but it becomes very noticeable every time you actually start to pay a close attention to your music. Equalization can certainly help, but it’s not as easy as selecting the “bass boost” option on your smartphone. You will need to really dig in and spend some time with a high-quality equalize to find out what works and what doesn’t.
The Rumba earphones come with their own black hard-shell zipper case. The case has an internal mesh pocket, where you can store the three extra pairs of replaceable rubber eartips.
Our mostly positive first impression was quickly replaced with more realistic view of these headphones. It seems that WinnerGear really knew what they want to make, but they somehow failed to achieve their goals. The individual parts are all there, but the execution is lackluster. Overall, this is an average pair of headphones hidden inside an empty shell made out of high expectations. However, if you live and breathe bass and nothing else, we are sure that…
Skullcandy Titan Earbuds
Skullcandy gets a lot of criticism for being overly focus on style and design and not putting enough emphasis on sound and build quality. Skullcandy Titan is a definite exception to this.
You get a good looking pair of headphones with large 11 mm drivers and two extra ear tips for maximum comfort. We like the included in-line microphone that works flawlessly with both Android and iOS. Many other earphones manufacturers put their in-line microphones too low, which is both uncomfortable and also bad for audio quality. Skullcandy made a right decision and positioned it high enough so that it works the best.
As expected from Skullcandy, Titan earbuds have a mainstream sound. The bass is very powerful and will make you feel the vibrations right in the middle of your head. Mids are slightly recessed which works absolutely fine with rap and other urban music genres.
We have tested our pair of Skullcandy Titan earbuds with the latest album from Dr. Dre and were very pleased with our results. The album is mixed with mainstream sounding headphones in mind, which means that it paired extremely well with Titans. Highs very not sharp, bass sounded punchy, and vocals were exactly where you would expect them to be.
One thing that you need to pay attention to with Skullcandy Titan earbuds is their cable. The strain relieves are not as capable as they are on many other headphones. You should ever just throw them inside your pocket or backpack without first storing them properly inside a case. Repairing such a small earbuds as these is not an easy task.
Skullcandy Titan is a good surprise from Skullcandy and we have absolutely no problem recommending them to people who stick to mainstream music genres and expect their music to sound fun and exciting.
RHA S500 Ultra-compact Aluminium In-Ear Headphones
The S500 from the renowned British headphone manufacturer RHA are the new basic model in their large line-up of remarkably well-built headphones. These are not to be confused with the S500i, another model from the same manufacturer, which includes a remote controller for Apple devices. We wouldn’t want to spoil anything, but would like to say right now that the S500 are hard to beat when it comes to the sheer value they offer.
You never see anyone complaining about the build quality of headphones from RHA, and there’s a good reason why. The company uses high-grade aluminum alloy construction, which is both lightweight and durable. The premium silver housing is smaller than what you see on most other dynamic headphones, and smaller size means more comfort and less fatigue.
In the high-end category of headphones and earbuds, it’s now a common practice for manufacturers to use fabric-braided cables instead of regular plastic ones. Their advantages are twofold: first, they make the cable feel much nicer against the skin; second, they prevent the cable from tangling. With the S500, RHA brings this feature into the budget category, letting you experience all the…
Sony MDR-EX58V EX Series Earbuds
Not many headphones from Sony are associated with a good sound quality. The company produces quite a lot of lower-end headphones and earphones that just don’t deliver what you would expect. Sony MDREX58V (horrible name, we know) are a solid exception to this.
Everything from their design to their performance is well thought out and up to par with often much more expensive earbuds from Klipsch or Bose. They are very small in size and will fit comfortably even when sleeping on the side.
Their energy efficient design ensures that you will be able to keep the volume settings on your device low and stay far away from unnatural sound distortions that often accompany higher volumes. You can choose from a total of 4 different color variations, with black being our favorite.
There is no denying that the main attraction of Sony MDREX58V is their low price. That is why it is even more surprising to discover just how great these little earbuds sound. They can easily rival even $150 models from many premium manufacturers.
They manage to deliver your music with a certain confidence that is just very rare to find. Their tiny drivers are able to handle all frequencies and give you a rich sound. A good level of sound isolation further helps to enhance your listening experience and forget about the outside world.
The most important question to ask is whether to spend money on a cheap pair of earbuds from Sony or go with a more respected manufacturer like Audio-Technica, Bose, or Klipsch. We are completely frank when we say that if you really don’t care about brand name, Sony MDREX58V EX Series Earbud Headphones are the way to go. You can spend way more on a pair of earphones still don’t get half the sound quality these little devils provide.
Yamaha EPH-20BL In-Ear Headphones
It’s a shame that Yamaha doesn’t make more headphones. Yamaha EPH-20 Earphones are the perfect example of years of experience with audio engineering being put into practice. The result is a highly-recommendable pair of earbuds that has plenty of style and quality.
EPH-20 are available in five different colors (pink, green, red, purple, and black). Their construction is lightweight but also very durable. These headphones are designed for portable use and Yahama doesn’t exactly expect you to pamper your headphones. You can simply throw them into your pocket and not worry about damaging them. They are easy to drive from most common audio players out there with an impedance of just 17 ohms.
Their offset design accomplishes two different things. It provides an exceptionally good seal from outside noise and help earbuds from falling out of your ear. When you put them on, outside noise and conversations will simply disappear and you will be surrounded solely by your music. It is a very nice experience and it helps to immerse you into the soundscape.
The second part of the offset design is handy from sports and exercise. It prevents headphones from being easily pushed out of your ear just by hitting the cable. This often happens with other earbuds on the market and can be extremely annoying and in some cases even outright dangerous.
The last thing we have not yet touched upon is their sound quality. Yahama has over 30 years of experience with sound engineering and you can clearly hear that they know their stuff. Pair these cheap earphones with a good, high-quality audio source and you will be presented with an exceptional clarity, crispness, and truly a musical sound signature. Bass isn’t overly boomy, instead it is very articulate and well-mannered. Yamaha EPH-20BL In-Ear Headphones are, indeed, created by musicians for musicians.
Best Cheap Earbuds Under $50 Reviewed
This is our most expensive category of affordable earbuds. At this price point, you can expect to see only high-quality materials and sound quality that will probably satisfy the vast majority of listeners. Each pair has some unique features and qualities. We recommend you to read every review so that you can make the best final decision possible.
V-MODA Vibe Metal In-Ear Headphones
The V-MODA Vibe in-ear Headphones pair fashion with high-fidelity sound, which is exactly what V-MODA has been doing for years. It’s easy for audio enthusiasts to shun the idea of focusing on anything else other than sound quality, but there’s no denying that the average consumer wants their headphones to look presentable, as well as sound amazing. Achieving both while keeping the cost low is no easy feat. The market is flooded with poorly constructed and poorly sounding headphones that do nothing but look pretty. Let’s just say that the V-MODA Vibe earphones are different, and this review explains exactly how.
V-MODA must have taken inspiration from jewelry makers because the Vibe earbuds look like two finely cut gemstones. Their small size makes them almost entirely disappear in your ears, except for the very end, which is silver and angled in a way that reflects light from it, giving it a crystal-like appearance…
Symphonized GLXY Genuine Wood In-Ear Headphones
The Symphonized GLXY in-ear headphones are an excellent example of how traditional materials can be combined with modern technology to create a unique product with a remarkable sound signature. Wood has been the go-to material of skilled instrument makers for millennia, and it continues to have its undisputed place even in the age of plastics. There aren’t many wooden headphones in the budget category, which is why the Symphonized GLXY are such a welcome sight.
Humans seem to be drawn to nature. We enjoy morning walks in parks, having plants in our homes, and we like whenever natural materials are used instead of their man-made counterparts. The Symphonized GLXY headphones combine genuine wood with a textile-braided cable, bringing you a few steps closer to nature.
The manufacturer has successfully minimized the size of the headphone housing without sacrificing durability. Despite being made from wood, the GLXY are as rugged as metal or plastic headphones. Included with the headphones are…
Brainwavz ProAlpha In-Ear Headphones
Brainwavz is known among audio enthusiast as a brand that produces high-quality gear at very affordable prices. Some of their products can be found in product lines of other manufacturers, but Brainwavz always manages to give customers plenty of reasons why go with them, such as luxurious packaging and a wide range of accessories. The ProAlpha promise to be the solution of choice for bass lovers, and we can’t wait to hear how this sleek pair of earbuds really sounds like.
Despite what the pictures might suggest, the ProAlpha are actually rather big. The odd shape makes them appear much smaller than they really are, but they are still not what we would consider an overly large pair of earbuds; they should comfortable fit even people with very small ears.
Speaking of comfort, wearing these earbuds for an extended period of time is no problem at all. Their short construction makes you forget that you even have them in your ears. The downside to it is the sub-par passive noise isolation. If you like to block out as much outside noise as you possibly can, these might not be the right earbuds for you. However, if you like to be aware of what’s going on around you – maybe to keep you safe while riding a bike or jogging – these could turn out to be perfect.
Probably our favorite part is the cable, which is a mixture of copper and silver. The cable is completely tangle-free running-friendly, which means that it’s not prone to microphonics. The 45-degree plug seems to be very sturdy and allows for easy pocket carry.
If we had to describe the sound quality of the Brainwavz ProAlpha with just a single word, it would have to be “charming”. That’s because the warm sound signature with prominent mids and punchy bass is likely to make you fall in love with it from the first moment you hear it.
The bass is powerful, tight, and plentiful. It’s there when you want it to be there and it goes away when it’s supposed to – just like it should be. Indeed, we were surprised just how easily the earbuds can adjust to different music genres. They seem to happily take whatever you throw at them and respond with a degree of musicality that’s not always guaranteed when it comes to this price category of headphones and earbuds.
In accordance with Brainwavz’s usual standard of quality and service, the ProAlpha earbuds come with an excellent hard-shell case with extensive padding. Inside the case is a warranty card and several pairs of replaceable eartips.
Just what we would expect from Brainwavz: great design, high build quality, and sound that leaves only a little to be desired. The ProAlpha should be very high up there for all listeners who like when their music has a healthy amount of power behind it.
ActionPie VJJB-V1S High-Resolution In-ear Headphones
If we told you that you can get a pair of high-quality dual-armature earbuds that sound like headphones that often cost several hundred dollars, would you believe us? Well, you definitely should. The ActionPie VJJB-V1S High-Resolution In-ear Headphones could be the best deal in their price range (and possible any price range, for that matter).
Even though the ActionPie VJJB-V15 look like a chunky pile of technology, they actually don’t feel that way when you put them in your ears. All the size and weight is evenly distributed, letting you forget that you have ever put them in to begin with.
Their angular construction works in conjunction with the soft silicone eartips to block out a good chunk of outside noise. You will have no problems using them in the gym or busy city streets.
The design will certainly please all lovers of high-tech technology. The housing looks futuristic and is very well made. All plastic materials align perfectly with one another to create one solid body that has no give or play.
The twisted cable has a microphone built into it, allowing for a hands-free operation of your device and keeping you safe while you focus on your favorite activity. The only downside is that the remote playback controller features only a pause button and no buttons change the volume or skip tracks.
The earbuds use 6mm large neodymium iron boron magnets strongest drive unit to pumps out the deepest bass in combination with soaring highs and ultra-clear mids. The resulting sound is just as good as what you get from many high-end headphones that cost 3-5 as much as these.
The sound is mostly neutral, with just a slight bass boost. The earbuds respond great to equalization, so you can fine-tune their sound to suit your own taste.
As much as we would like to find something to critique in terms of the sound quality – we can’t. Yes, there are a few minor things, such as the size of the soundstage, that we could nitpick, but the sheer affordability of these earbuds would instantly make these issues seem trivial.
The ActionPie VJJB-V1S earbuds come with a very impressive set of accessories: There’s a high-quality hard-shell protective case for when you really need to keep your earbuds safe from harm, a soft pouch for day-to-day storage, and 6 (yes, six!) different pairs of replaceable eartipes.
Wow! We still have a hard time believing just how affordable these earbuds really are. Just look at the amazing set of accessories that are included with them. The hard-shell case alone would cost you, at least, five dollars. The ActionPie VJJB-V1S High-Resolution In-ear Headphones are a living proof that audiophile-quality of sound in 2016 is available to all. Do yourself a favor and purchase these earbuds; you won’t believe your ears.
AudioMX EM-B3 Noise Isolating In-Ear Headphones
The AudioMX EM-B3 in-ear headphones belong to an increasingly more popular category of headphones characterized by their use of dual dynamic drivers. It’s not easy to squeeze detailed sound and wide frequency response from a single tiny driver. Adding a second driver makes it possible to use one for lows and the other for highs, resulting in better sound quality and higher dynamic range. Headphones with dual dynamic drivers used to be prohibitively expensive, but they’ve become very affordable over the past few years, thanks to companies such as AudioMX. The EM-B3 may look unassuming, but their potential is enormous.
One of the easiest ways how to make a pair of in-ear headphones more comfortable is to reduce their size and weight. No pair of ears is the same, and hardly anyone is keen on shelling out hundreds of dollars on custom-molded headphones. Small headphones usually don’t put nearly as much pressure on the sensitive skin that covers the inner part of your ears, making it possible to listen for multiple hours without any pain or discomfort.
What’s also great is the ability to wear headphones in two different ways. When one doesn’t work for you, there’s still a change that the other one will. The AudioMX EM-B3 headphones come with…
KINDEN EP05 Aluminum In-Ear Headphones
KINDEN wants to convince customers from all around the world that they are able to provide them with a world-class quality for a very sweet price. Their Aluminum In-Ear Headphones gave us plenty of confidence when it comes to KINDEN’s chances for success. If you want the best possible quality for a stunningly low price, you don’t want to miss these earbuds.
One thing is certain: the bullet shape design is sure to attract a lot of attention and please customers with how good it looks. The combination with the red cable create a very nice overall presentation, and you even get to choose between several different color combinations.
The metal housing is treated with anodic oxidation to prevent corrosion from forming on the surface. The flat, elastic TPE cable is built to last a long time of heavy, daily use. The already great durability of these earbuds is made even better, thanks to the use of a metal jack and cable splitter. It boggles one’s mind how all it’s possible to use all of these extra features on a pair of earbuds that cost less than 20 dollars.
The cable also comes with volume control buttons, which let you keep your smartphone safely stored in the pocket while you enjoy your favorite activity. The only negative is that you cannot control the playback volume.
The sound is produced by a pair of 8mm double magnetic pronunciations units with a frequency response of 6 – 31,000Hz, resulting in a sensitivity of up to 120 dB. These drivers are capable of admirable sound separation, letting you fully enjoy different parts of your favorite music.
Even though the bass frequencies are the stars of the show, the earbuds still maintain a good overall tonal balance and composure. No matter how much you crank up the volume, you never feel like you are asking the headphones to do more than they can handle.
The passive noise isolation is good enough to separate you from all outside noise, ensuring that you won’t miss on any details because of a car passing nearby or a dog barking under your window.
The KINDEN EP05 Aluminum In-Ear Headphones come with three different sets of replaceable eartips, one set of earhooks, a convenient shirt clip, and a well-made hard-shell case. The case is definitely the ultimate highlight of the abundant set of accessories. It has a nice woven pattern that gives it a premium look and enough padding to provide the earbuds with more than adequate level of protection.
These earbuds should be high up on every good list of affordable earbuds. Not only do they look unique and expensive, but they also sound on par. Just like so many other affordable earbuds, the KINDEN EP05 Aluminum Earbuds put emphasis on low frequencies. But unlike so many other earbuds, the KINDEN actually manage to pull it off without introducing unwanted distortion.
MEE Audio M-Duo Dual Dynamic Driver In-Ear Headphones
MEE Audio M-Duo earphones come with a powerful dual driver design for maximum bass delivery. Separate subwoofer ensures that low frequencies sound exactly the way they were intended to sound. The usage of two separate drivers allows these earbuds to accurately reproduce different parts of the frequency spectrum, reduce distortion, and maintain high levels of sound quality.
Their in-ear design gives a comfortable fit and good sound isolation. This means that you can listen to your music at lower volumes and thus protecting your hearing. You can a total of 6 pairs of replaceable ear tips so that you can choose the perfect size for your own ears. M-Duo earphones fit really well and their metal construction adds to the overall quality and premium appearance. This is really a solid pair of earbuds with a nice stylish exterior that just screams quality.
MEE Audio M-Duo earphones use a special, Kevlar-reinforced rubber cable that minimizes unwanted noise transfer and offers an unprecedented level of durability. The inline mic and remote is excellent for answering phone calls on the go or controlling your personal assistant of choice.
The quality of recorded sound is very good and I have even used these headphones while playing online games. Other players commented on the clarity of my voice and minimal sound disturbance. That is a pretty good compliment considering that some of them use $100+ microphones.
It is probably no surprise that bass-heavy music sounds amazing with M-Duo Dual Dynamic Driver In-Ear Headphones. It can be described as full, warm, accurate, punchy, and extremely fun to listen to. You might think that this would only be true about low frequencies, but that is not the case. Every genre of music I have tested sounded great and I have not once thought that these should be used only with bass-heavy music.
MEE Audio M-Duo Dual Dynamic Driver In-Ear Headphone with Inline Microphone and Remote are, indeed, an excellent buy with build quality that easily surpasses even models that cost twice as much as these.
Klipsch Image S3 Noise-Isolating Earphones
Klipsch earbuds are known for their patented oval ear tips that should, in theory, provide you with superior comfort and excellent noise isolation. Our testing confirms that this is indeed the case. Klipsch Image S3 fit comfortably and securely even when performing a high-impact sports activity.
Their tangle resistant cables minimize frustrations and possible damage that might otherwise occur. There are 3 different colors to choose from including gray, pink, and red. Their plastic body hides a customized 5.8mm moving-coil micro speaker with controlled damping that allows the Image S3 to deliver an excellent sounding mid and high frequencies.
Sadly they lack punch and impactfulness in low frequencies and music sound very thin as the result. This is quite sad since they would make a great pair of gym headphones. You can crack up the bass in you equalizer but it won’t fix the lack of punch and you might even experience bleeding into mid frequencies, which can easily ruin your listening experience.
One redeeming quality for Klipsch Image S3 Noise-Isolating Earphones is their 2-year warranty and 3 extra pairs of ear tips. When wrapping the cord around your ears, you can be assured that these earphones will stay in their place no matter what you do.
Another feature that needs to be complimented is their noise isolation ability. When you put these earphones inside your ears you will just barely be able to hear anything at all. That comes especially handy in loud gyms or on busy city streets.
Klipsch Image S3 Noise-Isolating Earphones with Patented Oval Ear-Tips are a good pair of earbuds that do many things incredibly well. The only problematic area is their rather tame lower frequencies. As with any other headphones, it is best to test them out and decide for yourself whether or not it is a problem.
MEE Audio M6 PRO Universal-Fit Noise-Isolating Musician’s In-Ear Monitors with Detachable Cables
MEE Audio M6 PRO were designed specifically to meet high demands of professional musicians. These include an accurate reproduction of music with a minimal amount of distortion, flat frequency curve, and an excellent build quality.
M6 PRO have detachable cables that provide listeners with the ability to completely replace the included cable with an after-market solution. This, of course, also means that you can easily fix any problems with damaged cable. The best way to wear these earphones is with the cable wrapped around your ear. This helps your earphones stay securely and place and not fall out when you least expect it.
As you might expect from in-ear monitors, their sound is very flat and accurate to the original recording. This is absolutely essential in all high-demand production environments, but it can be slightly problematic for listeners who don’t place a high value on accuracy and prefer their music to sound fun.
It’s not that these earphones will make your listening experiences unpleasant. It is just that every little detail of your music will come out 100%. That’s great for high-quality recordings, but it also means that your collection has to be of reasonable quality. Highly compressed mp3 files just won’t do the trick with these earphones.
MEE Audio M6 PRO come with a wide range of accessories. These include two different cables, one with in-line microphone and the other one without it, six pairs of replaceable ear tips, one pair of replaceable foam ear tips, a gold-plated ¼” (6.3mm) stereo adapter, and carrying case.
Considering their price, this is quite an achievement. You are really getting a great value for your money when you purchase MEE Audio M6 PRO Universal-Fit Noise-Isolating Musician’s In-Ear Monitors with Detachable Cables. Not only will have a good pair of in-air monitors for all your serious work, but you can also quickly replace their cable and use them on-the-go with your iPod or mp3 player.
Sennheiser MM30i In-Ear Headphones
I have no problems telling you straight away, that these are one of the best earbuds I have ever used. Everyone who tried them wholeheartedly agreed with this opinion. These cheap earbuds are built specifically for the iOS family of Apple device.
This is apparent when you take a look at the cable and notice the specially constructed in-line microphone. The whole earphone are very simple and elegant in terms of their design and we can definitely appreciate Sennheiser staying with their signature elegant appearance they known for.
The in-line remote control has three dedicated buttons. You can skip tracks with the first and last buttons and use the middle button to control music playback and accept calls. The remote control looks much larger on paper when it does in real life. It doesn’t get in the way nor does it tug on the cable. The only negative is that buttons are slightly harder to press, although it’s nothing you won’t get used to after a short while of using these headphones.
Sennheiser MM30i Headphones are very effective in cancelling background noise, so that’s something to be aware. Many people don’t like being completely separated from their surrounding even though it’s definitely desirable in very loud environments and also in quiet ones. In both cases, you will be able to keep the volume down and thus keep your ears healthy.
The lows, mids, and highs are all fantastic. Sennheiser managed to create the perfect balance between all different sounds. These are actually very similar to CX300, another popular model from Sennheiser. If you like those earbuds but would like to have the extra in-line microphone at your disposal, these would be a great choice.
Overall, Sennheiser MM30i are an amazing pair of cheap earphones with some nice extra features that make them an excellent deal.